As Hidalgo County begins recovering from Hurricane Hanna, numerous court hearings this week have been canceled.
That includes a scheduled pre-trial hearing for 25-year-old Victor Godinez, who could face the death penalty at sentencing if convicted of capital murder of a peace officer. He is also charged with two counts of attempted capital murder of a peace officer.
He is accused of shooting Texas Department of Public Safety trooper Moises Sanchez on April 6, 2019. Sanchez had responded to a car crash on North 10th Street and Freddy Gonzalez Drive in McAllen.
Sanchez died months later, on Aug. 24, 2019, at the age of 48 following complications from a surgery in Houston.
At first, it appeared as the trooper was recovering as his family posted photos on social media of his rehabilitation.
Less than a month after Sanchez’s death, on Sept. 19, 2019, a Hidalgo County grand jury indicted Godinez on a charge of capital murder of a peace officer and two counts of attempted capital murder of a peace officer. Before Sanchez’s death, he faced three counts of attempted capital murder of a peace officer.
With the new charge, the state can seek the death penalty as a sentencing option.
In late 2019, state District Judge Letty Lopez set a Feb. 9 deadline for the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office to announce whether it would seek the death penalty as a punishment should Godinez be convicted of the crime. That deadline was extended to March 30.
In mid-March, the realities of COVID-19 began to become apparent in Hidalgo County and the court partially shutdown and moved to video-conferencing for hearings.
Godinez last appeared in court by video-conferencing in late May, where his defense asked for an unopposed motion for a continuance due to the difficulties of meeting with Godinez because of the pandemic.
The court reset the pre-trial hearing to Aug. 7.
The two attempted capital murder of peace officer charges stem from allegations that Godinez shot at two Edinburg police departments who were apprehending him. Both officers were not harmed.